I am standing in front my mat, feet evenly balanced on the floor, long spine, hands together at my heart. Our teacher asks us to set an intention for our class and the idea of ‘expansion’ comes to mind. As I inhale I observe my lungs and body inflate as I feed my soul with dedication and commitment towards my practice. The sun salutations are my ritual to warm up the body, cultivate the breath, and ignite my passion. I love the feeling of breathing deeply in downward facing dog and feeling each of my fingers on both hands being spread apart as the hands grip down to the mat. As I move through the hour and a half journey it is obvious that this practice opens my physical abilities and capacities; the body warm and alive lengthens and moves in ways that are simply amazing to me. More subtle and powerful is the expansion that takes place in the mind. Subtle because it takes time; it doesn’t happen over night. Powerful as it transforms our lives.

Over the past three years with the practice of yoga, support of my family, friends, and community I’ve experienced the magical ride that takes place when we expand past our boundaries and limitations. It is a most pleasant episode in life. It leaves us grateful to be alive and confident that we can continue to grow and expand throughout our life. My wish right now is for all of us to experience this wonderful process multiple times in our lives.


If You Are Stuck, Move

All life is full of movement. To feel that we are on hold, stuck in one place seems to go against nature, but it is something we all go through from time to time.

Sometimes in our yoga practice we feel stiff and stuck within a pose. Similarly, in life we can feel stagnant and restless. In both cases, often we become unsure of ourselves. How can we change this situation? How can we be released back to the flow of ever-changing life?

We can free ourselves by making a move, thus reconnecting to the rhythm of the body and of the universe. In our yoga practice, the smallest change made in the body can suddenly free up so much space and movement. In life, the same thing can happen. Making just one step in a new direction can bring forth events that can be life-changing.

When we feel trapped in a pose or stuck in a situation, move. Whether it be a small step or a huge leap, do something, and watch the flow of life and movement return. We are only as stuck as we believe ourselves to be.


The Person Next to Us

There are times when I get so focused on my Yoga practice and teaching that I miss seeing the opportunity to share its benefits much closer to my home.  My husband had a hip replacement six months ago and he had been making good progress regaining his strength so he could cycle but his flexibility was a challenge.

This past Saturday he asked whether I could share some exercises to help him warm up since he was feeling much too inflexible as he set off on his morning jaunt.  Voila!  The light went off – of course yoga could help him. Why hadn’t I offered this before?  Don’t I do this everyday with all of my students?

I showed him how to ease into sun salutations, using his breath and directing it towards the stiffness.  After a few sets his movements became a little more fluid and the range of motion improved.  Don found it not only helpful for that morning’s bike ride but I think I may have kindled his interest in adding yoga to his routine.  I guess the lesson learned is there are so many potential beneficiaries of yoga and often they are within our line of sight and hearing… and under our own roofs!  We only need look as far as the person standing next to us to spread the word.